Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hope Springs Eternal

Today I decided to dust off the ol' crockpot and play dinner roulette. This is how the game is played: I put good, decent ingredients into the crockpot, stir them up, put on the lid, and wait six hours. At dinnertime, I lift the lid off of the crockpot. An enjoyable meal that doesn't cause too much grousing = I live to cook another day. On the other hand, if I am the only cheerleader of the meal and nobody wants anything to do with it = well, you know.

I've played and lost many times before. Here's a photograph of Hoppin' John from All You magazine:

Boy, howdy, doesn't that look good?

And here's a photo of how it turned out at Chez Foley:

Sweet Mother of Mercy, where did I go wrong?

I swear, I followed the recipe word for word. But even I couldn't muscle this mush down.

This weekend my family and I went to McKinnon's Market in Somerville, Massachusetts, which is one of those butcher shops where they're practically giving it away. A chicken-leg-quarters-for-59¢-a-pound kind of place. We loaded up on chicken breasts, so today I found a dead-simple recipe at Cooks.com for crockpot chicken. I've added a few tweaks; we'll see how it goes. Here's the recipe, just in case it turns out well:

Hope Springs Eternal Crockpot Chicken
1 can Cream of Onion Soup
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. white wine
1/4 t. black pepper
1/2 t. paprika
2 carrots, sliced (I used a crinkle cutter. Marketing!)
1 small onion, diced
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 T. flour

Mix everything but the chicken together in the crockpot. Add the chicken and moosh it around until the chicken is covered in the sauce. Put the lid on the crockpot and cook on low for four hours or until done.

Remove the chicken from the sauce, then pour the sauce into a pot. Mix the flour with enough water to give it the consistency of heavy cream. Bring the sauce to a boil, then stir in the flour and water mixture, stirring constantly. Turn off the heat when the sauce has thickened.

Serve over rice or noodles.

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